Taking inspiration from 60’s garage and 70’s glam, Kill City Creeps manage the difficult task of taking their influences somewhere new without dragging the music out of context or relevance. In the same way bands like Eddy Current Suppression Ring manage to say something different with old words, Kill City Creeps are a band who speak about the here and now through the good old language of rock n roll.
Gearing up for a month-long residency ‘Upstairs’ at The Beresford, we caught up with lead singer and songwriter Daniel Darling to talk about their recent five-track EP, their inspirations and the similarities between them and Daft Punk.
MF: So you guys have just released a five-track EP; can you tell me a bit about it? How did it come together and how do the songs in the studio compare to on stage?
DD: Well I guess looking back at when we recorded those songs, we weren’t really thinking about a release. It was the first thing we ever recorded so we looked at it more like a demo, but in saying that, we still wanted it to sound good and capture our sound. We put it down to an old four-track tape machine, which we got Geoff Lee at Zen Studios to engineer, and then we asked Nic Dalton to lend a listen when it came to doing the mixes. I think with any band the studio experience is always going to be a little different from the live show, the latter being much more free and spontaneous and amplified, but both are rewarding
MF: Nic Dalton mixed it; was that a case of just sending an email or is there more of a story behind it?
DD: I ran into Nic out and about and told him about the band and that we were planning on doing some demos, and after we got it all done asked if he would mix it. Nic has run a record label (Half a Cow Records), played in a bunch of bands and recorded his own music. Everyone mentions he played in the Lemonheads but you should check out Nic Dalton & his Gloomchasers to hear what he’s about. He also understands the music we do, so we were lucky to have his ears listen in for a bit. On ya Nic 😉
MF: The EP and especially I Got A Letter have been getting heaps of attention from radio and the media, and you’ve got a massive ring of shows booked in till the end of the year; are you feeling at all overwhelmed by the pace or just excited?
DD: We get amped about playing shows for sure; it wouldn’t be worth the effort if there wasn’t a kick out of it. Personally, I like things to move fast as it’s the best cure for impatience and a short attention span; I’d feel overwhelmed if there was less to do.
MF: What is it that drives you to make music, and what inspires you to make the type of music that you do?
DD: Like any obsession, it becomes a need rather than a want. When you surround yourself and your head-space with something you’re so into for a long stretch of time, there’s a feeling of no turning back. It’s the best kind of therapy I can think of, and music is something for any occasion or mood. What we do is a result of four individuals and we all borrow bits and pieces from music we like, which gives us our sound.
MF: Does personal experience drive a lot of the music or do you take from elsewhere?
DD: Personal experience is what makes us up as humans so yeah, that’s a huge part of the songwriting process for sure. Other people’s experiences are great to write about as well cause there’s a universal feeling when you can tap into other people’s way of thinking or their stories. Films and imagery are another big influence too. But in saying that, it’s not a complex or well thought out process when it comes to writing songs, especially rock n roll music. I reckon that’s why the formative years of rock n roll happened so quickly, it’s fast n fun and there’s no rules.
MF: The press release mentions that the music is ‘the sound of a depleted youth”; can you elaborate on what you mean by that and also how the music evokes it?
DD: Hehe, in contrary to that description we are anything but old burn outs, but we are living in an age where innocence and naivety is lost at the touch of a finger. There’s a sense of boredom and staleness in the modern day due to everything being over spent, played out and misguided. As a band we have our own little rebellion against it all and sometimes with a bit of a chip on our shoulder, but we are a product of this day and age and what we’re doing is tapping into the fun, dark and dangerous side of this otherwise quite conservative society.
MF: I also noticed that the press release mentions that “It is clear that, in truth, this enigma can’t be described … it can only be felt”, which I would definitely agree with. The music and the music it’s taking inspiration from being visceral art forms, often tied with the physical experience of dancing and or moshing. Is that important to you, to sort of work outside an academic realm and stick to what you can feel?
DD: Oh most definitely; it’s just sound and words that flow together to spark some kind of kick in the imagination. It’s a form of escapism. A good beat, some catchy chords and simple words are a good recipe for some serious dancin!
MF: It’s funny to consider, though, that this kind of music would have in its day been considered dance music; where, were you to say that to someone today, they’d laugh at you. What do you think though, would you call it dance music? Do you see any common elements between what you do and what a group like Justice or Daft Punk do?
DD: Creating music to dance to is a form of hypnotism and all styles of music have the ability to make people dance, but it all comes down to the song. Repetition and beat are common elements we share with the groups you mentioned, although we chose a more purist approach in delivering them. Commercial dance music I find a little cold and synthetic, which I feel represents a good portion of mainstream culture. Rock n Roll will always be a more free, loose and wrong-side-of-the-tracks form of dance music to my ears.
MF: Now you’re gearing up for your residency at Upstairs at The Beresford in November. Now the Beresford is a bit of a far cry from where you guys all started out; are you worried about playing to such a different crowd?
DD: Nah, playing to different crowds is the best. It’s nice to have the opportunity to give something different to people and to get different reactions.
MF: Now you’re playing in Merivale venues, is it safe to say this is the end of the 60’s garage and 70’s glam phase and we’re about to move into the cocaine-fuelled period of 80’s excess?
DD: Haha, so long as it’s your shout Mikey 😉 Rack em up.
MF: The music, while obviously drawing on influences from the past, nevertheless has a very contemporary sound to it; what is it specifically you think that achieves this in the music? What sets it apart from the rest?
DD: Being different or contemporary is not something we set out to do or really think about. We don’t really use any effects apart from fuzz n overdrive, so what you hear is just us plugging in and playing.
MF: Nostalgia and familiarity have always been strong forces in music, each new generation taking parts from the last to then invent their own style, but these days with the Internet we have so much material at our fingertips that musicians are borrowing ideas from all over history. What was it then that made you guys want to focus on the influences you’ve chosen at the exclusion of other genres? What is it about the music the band has been inspired by that speaks to you?
DD: I believe you don’t choose a genre of music as much as it chooses you. It’s just one of those things; you hear it and if you start pulling your hair out saying “holy shit this is amazing!” then that’s going to have a long-lasting effect. We all listen to lots of different styles of music and get inspired by many things, but we definitely have a formula which we all agree on and we don’t try and stray away from our sound cause we’re having a ball.
Kill City Creeps – November Residency @ Upstairs Beresford Dates
Saturday Nov 5
w/ East River
Saturday Nov 12
w/ the Jungle Giants
Saturday Nov 19
w/ Doc holiday
Saturday Nov 26
w/ Reckless Vagina